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The Guildford Four Prison letters reveal Gerry Conlon was on the brink of suicide

GERRY CONLON, who was falsely convicted of the Guildford pub bombings, was on the brink of taking his own life after spending 12 years in prison, private letters to the Irish government showed yesterday.

The Guildford Four member wrote in 1987, while locked up at Long Lartin in England, that he could not face another 18 years in “living hell.” His father had died in prison seven years before.

The letter, dated May 10 1987 and released by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin under the 30-year rule, was sent to then tanaiste and foreign affairs minister Brian Lenihan.

“I can assure you that I do not intend to serve [the rest of a 30-year sentence], I would much rather join my dear father,” Mr Conlon wrote.

“…This is not something I want to do but you can only suffer so much and to suffer it for something you didn’t do makes the suffering intolerable.”

Mr Conlon and the rest of the Guildford Four — Paul Hill, Carole Richardson and Paddy Armstrong — were sentenced to life for the 1974 IRA bomb attacks in Surrey, which killed five people and injured 65.

Their convictions were overturned in 1989 after it was proved that their “confessions” were obtained by torture.

Mr Conlon’s father Giuseppe, as one of the Maguire Seven, was also falsely imprisoned over allegations that he helped pass nitroglycerine to the IRA to make bombs. The seven’s convictions were quashed in 1990.

Mr Conlon pleaded with Mr Lenihan: “I hope the Irish government will be able to do something to help us before another innocent person, like my father, dies from that terrible disease known as British justice.”

Mr Conlon died in 2014 aged 60.


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